Historically, wildfires burned Western forests creating and maintaining a variety of forest compositions and structures (Agee 1993). Prior to European settlement lightning along with Native Americans ignited fires routinely across many forested landscapes. After Euro-American settlement, fires continued to be quite common with fires ignited by settlers, railroads, and lightning (Pyne 2001). In August 1910 came a pivotal change in how Westerners in particular, and policymakers in general, viewed fire. Starting early in that summer, fires were ignited and continued to burn throughout western Montana and northern Idaho. By mid August over 1,700 fires were burning throughout the region, but most forest managers figured the area could weather these fires if no dry strong winds developed. On August 20 and 21, the dry winds did blow, and by the time the flames subsided over 3.1 million acres of the northern Rocky Mountains burned (fig. 1). These fires killed 78 firefighters and seven civilians and burned several communities including one-third of Wallace, Idaho (fig. 2) (Pyne 2001; USDA 1978).